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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, November 20, 2006

 

The Need for Paper

So you say there is no need for a paper ballot, huh? You say that the machines work perfectly well, do ya? Well in every single contested race from this past election, it appears that the only discrepancies left all have REPUBLICANS in the lead. And, let's face it, in our recent electoral history, whenever votes are recounted, DEMOCRATS always seem to inch closer to the REPUBLICANS who have already declared victory, and usually surpass them, if given the chance. (see the REAL recount of the 2000 Florida ballots when, after a consortium of nine newspapers finished a full recount of the Sunshine State's vote, Al Gore turned out to be the REAL WINNER.)

As reported earlier, Florida's 13th congressional district, the one vacated by Bush-ally-turned-pariah Katherine Harris, has been "awarded" to auto dealer millionaire Vern Buchanan, the REPUBLICAN, over DEMOCRAT Christine Jennings. It appears that in the only true Democratic county in that district, Sarasota county, about 18,000 votes came is as blank... under-votes... no votes. Now, you may ask yourself "Isn't it possible that 18,000 voters just were so disgusted by the process they just didn't vote?"... Go ahead... I'll wait... The answer is "Sure. Anything is possible." But that shouldn't be the question. The REAL question is why does the only Democratic county in that congressional district have six times more blank ballots cast for a US congressional seat than the other four counties in the district?

I guess they were really, really PO's in Sarasota, huh?

By the way, the margin of "victory" was a mere 369 votes.

Jennings is contesting the election by questioning the accuracy and dependability of the voting machines. She is appealing for a new vote, but if the same machines are going to be used, the question is "Why bother?"

"Statistical evidence is based on numbers that cannot be seriously questioned,"
-Kendall Coffey, Jennings' lawyer, pointing out that something smells funny, Kendall also pointed to eye-witness accounts of voting problems

Other races with "questionable" outcomes:

-Ohio's 2nd US congressional district Republican incumbent Jean Schmidt, who called two-war veteran Rep. John Murtha a "coward" on the floor of the House is 2,800 votes ahead of Democratic challenger Victoria Wulsin. There are 9,000 votes which remain to be counted
-In Ohio's 15th, Republican incumbent Deborah Pryce is leading Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy by 3,500 votes with 19,000 left to count
-In New Mexico's 1st, REPUBLICAN Heather Wilson leads Democrat Patricia Madrid by only 879 votes
-In North Carolina's 8th US Congressional District, Rep. Robin Hayes is ahead of Democratic challenger Larry Kissel by a mere 339 votes. The difference here is that Kissel can actually ask for a HAND RECOUNT. I wonder what the end result will be?

And in 2004, just as a reminder, the Washington State governor's race also came down to a close call when Dino Rossi, the REPUBLICAN declared victory only to be proven wrong when all the votes were counted. Christine Gregoire ended up as the real winner.

It may be a number of issues that conspire against Democratic candidates. Purposely malfunctioning machines; software viruses which seem to only negatively effect Democratic candidates; or purposely undercounting Democratic precincts and counties. It's also "funny" how the incidents of these "malfunctions" always seem to happen in states and precincts run by REPUBLICANS. Remember Florida and then-Secretary of State Harris and Ohio's J. Kenneth Blackwell and the missing 350,000 votes from predominately Democratic precincts, many of them in Cuyahoga County, the home of Democratic-leaning Cleveland.

Just as a note: Both Harris and Blackwell paid the political price this year when Harris lost her bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson and Blackwell lost his bid to become the next governor of Ohio to Democratic Rep. Ted Strickland. Both lost by near 2-to-1 margins.

Rush Holt's verifiable paper trail amendment to the Help America Vote Act (H.R. 2239) has been stuck in GOP-limbo since he introduced it in 2003. Here's what Section 4(a)(2)(A) and (B) says:

(A) VOTER-VERIFICATION IN GENERAL- The voting system shall produce a voter-verified paper record suitable for a manual audit equivalent or superior to that of a paper ballot box system, as further specified in subparagraph (B).

(B) MANUAL AUDIT CAPACITY-

(i) The voting system shall produce a permanent paper record, each individual paper record of which shall be made available for inspection and verification by the voter at the time the vote is cast, and preserved within the polling place in the manner in which all other paper ballots are preserved within the polling place on Election Day for later use in any manual audit.

(ii) The voting system shall provide the voter with an opportunity to correct any error made by the system before the permanent record is preserved for use in any manual audit.

(iii) The voter verified paper record produced under subparagraph (A) and this subparagraph shall be available as an official record and shall be the official record used for any recount conducted with respect to any election in which the system is used.

It's time to take the thievery out of elections. It's time to make each and every vote count... and recounted.

-Noah Greenberg



Republican Obstructionism

From AFL-CIO blog:

Since his post-election-olive-branch pledge to take a new bipartisan approach, Bush has:

Nixed the idea of giving Medicare the right to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for its faulty Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, a Democratic priority.

Re-nominated two other Senate-rejected candidates for important Labor Department posts.

Indicated a clean minimum wage bill—another Democratic priority—wouldn’t get his signature because he favors including “business incentives.”

Continued to back free trade agreements that lack the human rights, labor and environmental protections and other provisions most Democrats favor.

Planned to ease newly passed corporate fraud rules.

Set very narrow boundaries for any new ideas he will consider for new strategy for the war in Iraq.

****

Bush and the obstructionist Republicans will not cooperate. Let's catalog each and every obstacle they throw in our way and use it against them in 2008. There is simply no choice but to widen our margins in Congress and win the Presidency in 2008. In the meantime, expect the next two years to be essentially a stalemate. At the very least, we will have investigations of the corrupt obstructionists Republicans.

-Forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane



In response to, "Last year, Abizaid said that we need to have a gradual troop withdrawal of our troops in Iraq, This year he says we need more troops. According to military experts, the newest interpretation of the Iraqi conflict is more of a struggle between Sunni's and Shi'ites than it is anything else. Our troops are now, seemingly, fighting two sides of a war without either side being our ally," Robert Chapman writes:

These quotations of Mr. Greenberg's are accurate. They reflect the changing nature of the Iraq War, which appears to have entered its fourth major phase. Each phase has evolved to the surprise of American intelligence and the chagrin of American policy makers. Each phase has been successively more difficult to manage and each phase has demonstrated the inadequacy of the American forces committed to the war.

It is time to begin to seriously question the reliability of claims that an early American withdrawal will have dire consequences for long term American security. It should be clear that an early withdrawal may or may not have dire consequences for the Iraqis. It can be forcefully argued from the published evidence that the Coalition forces are protecting militia groups engaged in sectarian violence and that the security provided by this protection is the shield they need to continue. In other words without the Coalition forces to hide behind, the sectarian militias would either be drawn into internecine combat and quickly destroyed, or they would desist to avoid such combat.

The consequences for American security are harder to estimate. It should be clear that the magnet theory is false. We do not require two wars to draw Mujahadeen into a foreign war, the war in Afghanistan would suffice. Whether the Iraqi government could maintain the security of the oil fields without coalition support is more problematic.

One thing that is clear is that the American policy in Iraq is hopelessly muddled and we have no clear objectives. Under these conditions, American soldiers are killing and dying for nothing and the soldiers already killed have died in vain.



In response to, "China forces women to have abortions against their will," Rhian writes:

Chinese occupiers in Tibet, also take pregnant Tibetans off the street, abort their babies and sterilize them, against their wills. They take teens off the streets who are not pregnant and sterilize them against their wills as well. The youngest one on record was 11.


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-Noah Greenberg